tv 2016 National Book Award CSPAN December 20, 2016 12:17am-2:10am EST
sorts of things. they're doing a lot to pray also.so also want to say there is to annapolis is but the one place they come together is the annapolis senior center where most of the people seem to have gone beyond a lot of stuff. thank you. >> thank you. i was acknowledge all the woman i work with for all of these. i of these. i should've been more clear my language but if it weren't for the woman in my life i would not even be here. i can even do myr' own anything, so thank you for that. >> and i like it echoed that. >> first of all that will conclude our panel. we want to say -- i know. of course we have time constraints but i wish to thank the panelists, we want to thank her all of you for coming out
and taking the time and please support, read their books, i've read both of them they're excellent. we know you have a question and we have opportunity. we will allow opportunity. we will allow you to answer the question, just not right now.ig thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> welcome back to book to be. that was the national book award winner for nonfiction with his books stamped from the beginning, history of racist ideas in america. so you know who won but we hope you'll join us to watch the national book awards ceremony hosted by larry. in november we brought together 22 authors and many people in publishing and
readers to celebrate literature. it was a great night a great night and i hope you will join us again tonight. >> as we begin the national book awards, legislative gentlemen please welcome to this date, larry wilmore. ♪ ♪ local ♪ >> thank you very much can everybody hear me okay? great. welcome. what a nice night. welcome nice night. welcome to the 2016 national ds. book award. far as i will be called, the trump national luxurious evening for books big leave.how wa , get used to it everybody. man, what a week. how was your how was your week? >> this was very bizarre for me.
wasn't tuesday night the most surreal night ever? i've been watching election since i was a kid. i've never experienced a not like dashmac@on him to have a word for it. a friend of mine said that was exciting wasn't a? i said exciting? i don't know if i would use the word -- it's exciting and same weight that way that an asteroid hurtling toward earth is exciting. [laughter] spectacular, but i think were going to die soon. that's what it felt like. it's hard to to explain the feelingsi i voted fors e. hillary, i'm a democrat, we are so happy at the beginning of the night. right. history is going to be made, all those kind of things. by the end of the natives like everybody's dog had died. it felt horrible. the only analogy that makes sense to me, it is felt as if we are all opening a brand-new samsung get galaxy note 7. laughmac like man this is a nice
phone, right can't wait to get open.when you because then when you plug in that new phone and startnl charging the only thing on your minus come i wonder what time this phone is going to be ready for me to use. not, i wonder if i'm going to and have a phone and will my house be burned down to the ground.d. that's what it felt like at the end of the night. it was so bizarre. it is unfair to people to say that hillary lost. what i think she's going to win the popular vote where she's ahead by like 2 million. a million and a half, man. it's also fair to say that trump one, i think trump had more passionate people for him especially in certain areas than hillary did. when he think about it, trump had white people racing to those ballots like they were voting for the first white president. [laughter] come on let's go.
maybe our only chance. i'm a little worried, i'm a little concerned, is america ready for a white president? [laughter] once you go black, you know how it goes. [laughter] that i don't know i'm just putting it out there. but it is interesting. even though the, trump's coming trump's presidency is affecting the book world. on a few new up but bookstores have said they're taking all copies of the constitution and moving them from the government section to the fiction section. [laughter] and all copies of trump's books are moving to the nonfiction section to the horse section. [laughter]nf i think that's appropriate. and now here's the other thing, now they're also taking classic
books and they have to change cg the title just to make it coincide with was going on in the country right now. like the great gatsby is now the terrific and i mean terrific gatsby.men who too many words, right? little women will not be known as little woman who will all be dating in ten years. , all like i said that, right. [laughter] that's what he said. the hitchhikers guide for the galaxy is not the hitchhiker's guide to canada, very nice. that's actually very helpful. pride and prejudice now is now pride and really prejudice. i censored myself a little bit. a clockwork orange, now, well actually there's no change for that.
that actually stay missing. and finally, this one really makes me sad, my favorite, dr. seuss the [chanting], now has to be called grab them by the pussycat in the hat. >> i did cat in the hat. >> i did not say that. that's actually not a bad word though. should we get the evening started? let's do it. [applause] actually that was really clean joke it just sounded like a dirty joke. i wasn't gonna do about billy bush egg me on. so [laughter] is a going to be a fun night. i'm excited to be here. i love books and the fact that we celebrate books. i say books mao be the only evidence of a civilized society at some point. i'm starting to believe that could be true. think everybody who's written or edited or published a book and and who has supported books. thank you.
in fact, quick story. i sold bookstore to door one summer and i wrote about this last year. at the end of this the family cannot afford the books, there were a poor immigrant family. at the end of summer left the books there for their kids. it's one of the things that really change my life and inspired me to do things that i'm doing. thank you book people is what. i'm saying. now, we need books. please welcome to the stage the chairman of the national book foundation, david steinberger. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ double mocha. >> good evening. on behalf of the national book foundation i would like to welcome you to the 67th national book awards. [applause] is a one of the things that makes this special is having so many wonderful writers in the room. we have got multiple winners of the national book award, we have winners of a pulitzer prize, we have winners of the new berry, the nebula, the penn nebula, the pen faulkner, the edgar, the o henry, we have writers have been nominated in finalist for every possible literary award. i would like to recognize the writers in this room. if you are are right or would you stand up? please stand right now, encourage your writers to stand. [applause] and join me and it knowledge in them. [applause]
[applause] >> thank you. thank you. now, now, i would like to thank our sponsors make this event possible, specifically thank you premier sponsors and penguin random house, barnes & noble, leadership sponsors, linton meyer, lyndon meyer book publishing papers, division of central -- it coral graphic, ano sponsors amazon, google, harpercollins, leverage leverage her foundation, alberto patel he, and belzberg charitable trust. thank you for your support. [applause]
a special thank you to apple and ibooks were hosting the after party. i've been told we're going to have a giant disco ball.re on th is that right? yes, it's coming. it's going to be right here onba the balcony behind here you are invited to the after party thank you. that is can, rachel, paul morse, paul morris, steph, nicole, thank you. [applause] think you toward dinner dinner committee who made this eveninge possible. that is do you do, lee, luke, debra, nicholas, tracy, and shelley. thank you.
i like to thank the staff of the national book foundation that doesn't amazing job and especially her new executive director lisa lucas. [applause] it's funny because everyone i ran into his saying where did you find this person, she is unbelievable, we can't get over her. i'm i'm glad i'm talking before she is so people are insane who is this guy talking after lisa. we'll thrilled with her drive, enthusiasm, devotion and, devotion and commitment to the written word. she's going to make a great difference. thank you to lease and and her team at the
foundation. i want to collect the audience are former executive director harold. he is here still working with us with a grant with the mellon foundation. [applause] finally want to thank my fellow board members who are committed to the work of the foundation and i want to give special thanks to the members of the search committee who worked on the transition from harold and lisa who worked hard on this and did such a great job. that that is claire lynn, calvin, reynolds, and our vice chairman morgan, thank you to the board. [applause] . .
so i was asked what is the mission of the national book foundation? to increase the impact of great books on the culture. and is pretty important. thanks for being here to be a part of that important emission. and to all of our finalist for national book award, congratulations on your wonderful achievement and good luck tonight and now want to the awards ceremony. [applause] >> and now to present the award for outstanding service to the american literary community. [applause]
the author of the winner of the 2010 national book award and a finalist at the national book critics circle award hip logic and muscular music including national endowment of the arts the united dates altered plan negative and the macarthur fellowship with his most recent collection of finalists for the 2015 national book award and 2016 book credit circle award in 2016 naacp image award for poetry gives me great pleasure to welcome to the stage. ♪ [applause]
>> often over the years i have been asked why a group of black poets would name themselves a latin name because blackness like poetry means different things i like to say. for example,, once upon a time to black poets visiting the lost city of pompeii saw upon entering on the gate later when they had the idea for the retreat that is what they called it. latin for be wearing a dark. what does it mean to be the dark guarding the house of poetry corrects maybe they never paused to ask such a question or 20 years later they are still asking the
question because blackness, like poetry means many things, they would welcome black poets of every shade in the and middle of nowhere academics, students and professors and ex-con send exiles weirdos librarians atheist a priest and precess. i am not bullshtting laugh laugh including the daughter of a confederate general as well as the disc jockey decided to live in the homeless shelters and he could tap -- take the time to study to become a poet with over 300 fellows it is one of the most diverse poetry organizations in the country.
in 1968 when a white policeman erroneously shot 33 year-old black poet in the subway station in harlem , and no one imagined a nation of black poets could exist. such futuristic idea. a world in which the descendants of slaves but elizabeth fitch moustache bishop said it is way of their feelings but one of the first teachers one of the first poets to see the value of such a place famously wrote, comes celebrate with me and every day something tries to kill me and has failed. [applause] imagine 20 years while using someone's feelings college tries to kill me with all
kinds of magical things that happens during for those fellows readings between 18 and 88 all styles and dispositions is amazing. the summer that i taught there a brother named avery strange and brilliant across between hathaway. so when his turn came he would say where were you when they killed that boy? where were you when they killed the boy? like thought he was just going to sing a little bit. but he went on like that. with the emmett till cost bullfighters six minutes walking around the room like
she was possessed would you kill the man who would kill the boy would you kill for that boy? would you kill for that boy? would you live for that boy would you live for that voice? he was sweating and panting when he was done. so i tried to breed and couldn't per car started to head for the door per car left the room and i found myself feeling, i don't know how long. alone in the darkness outside. and when i was done by straight into my face to head back inside when i was met by a crowd when of people i thought i was the only one weeping. he clear the room so maybe half an hour later the reading continued no one could say what happened exactly you could hear 5% of
what happened. what would it have been if you brought a bunch of black police together in a safe place were become the black and faithful? what would happen? we know the poet affiliated such a place would flourish because they have but we also know many more billion unaffiliated remain in peril or overlooked breaking is lonely all the time no organization can change that . but we are a fortification even if you are not a poet or black it is a fortification of your language, your history, your future. we have seen a black president and we see what kind of president comes after a black president.
[applause] we cns still have seen black man and women killed by people who are sworn to protect them our lives remain in danger which is to say your lives remain in danger we need our organizations that put writers in the schools and homeless shelters in prisons into the underserved communities sometimes forbidding remiss in underserved community the nonprofit arts organization needs your support, your loyalty your bark and your bite we must be the dog guarding bathhouse. thinking for your work. you have done a good job. [applause]
and. >> i am most grateful to the national book foundation for this validation. i accept this award in the names of our 440 fellows all over the country. our visionary executive director and the innkeeper for the birth of the group and our first faculty, our productive than hard-working board members during the past 20 years, our current board president, the office and retrieved staff and all of those who have given
their knowledge and skills and money and love. for most, want to sink my beloved friends, my partners in crime for the sheer passion that we have been so privileged to enjoy. each year in the opening circle on the first night, more than 50 african-american poets look across the of room some of the loom have never worked with another african-american poet and that was reflected back of their beauty and their power . there is an outpouring of tears and gratitude and joy. all over the country's cough they build community who have gone through this transformation. three poets won the top
literary award. and rabin won the national book award. [applause] and then the book critic circle award. [applause] i believe in the future will be the flesh and blood that our country is mendez country needs so courageously especially now. this energy does not belong to us and was passed down through the creative genius of our ancestors which was their response to slavery and oppression.
and enjoy is an act of resistance. [applause] inaugural always so thanks for ordering that. who laugh when the great things is cecile one another in the ruble and i have the feeling right now. we see each other off. and thank you national book foundation to see what we have done. [applause] [inaudible conversations] and one more hand.
[applause] >> wow very powerful constructing the narrative whenever people get controlling the narrative weaken hair will -- we can hear the narrative and now we have dr. kelly the new york public library director of the research libraries responsible for the of four research centers and the 460 member staff. including collection strategy to research your engagement, a preservation, to take a lead role in the important research initiative of the renovations to expand the use of the most democratically accessible collection.
he began his tenure in 2016 and dent had the title of the interim chancellor and chairman of the research foundation then after eight successful years will go to the center. so it gives me great pleasure to welcome dr. kelly. ♪ [applause] >> good evening. this day privilege for the lifetime achievement medal for distinguished contribution. a much deserved honor and a singularly appropriate one.
but the career has been crowned and widely recognized as the greatest biographer overtime and they might well argue all time. to be celebrated as the most consequential interpreter of the american 20th century, the magisterial accounts to close this sword johnson fundamentally altered our understanding of the acquisition and deployment of power. his stature in the first rank of american journalist and his passion for getting the story right and his commitment with his great partner to pursue every lead , source and archival trace is a stuff of legend. to make the honors and awards and historical award
and the gold medal from the academy and the national medal of bear witness to that pursuit with his impact on a generation of journalists who profited from his example. but if it celebrate something larger commit owner's box contribution to american letters with the such a recognizes in this company of writers the power of the word and of bob's genius for wielding that authority with our common interest. apart of his achievement is languages self and the capacity to make us feel
engage with actors across time and space to change the way we live in. that power besides in the alignment of paragraph and in the arrangement here brings accuracy and the attention to detail with the narrative powers derived from getting the language right getting caught with every proposition nurse ; his work as then describe negative shakespearean most often in reference to history and his mastery of character and rendering of ambition but on the level of language that those affinities are most apparent to balance the point is to
undergird and drive the stories that he tells. that is the source of their power in the proportion in the polls that keeps us turning pages through the night. with the books that they constitute have made is conscious of ubiquity of power in the most intimate aspects of our lives and of its capacity for great good and greater evil. the need to recognize the invisible exercise and the imperative to resist its abuse and that is the gift ever rare ordered never more critical. please join me to welcome the master robert carroll. ♪ of. [applause] ♪
[applause] ♪ [applause] >> that was such a wonderful introduction i reminded was at when dan johnson used to say when he got a introduction he said he wished his parents were alive to hear it because his father would have loved it and his mother would have believed it. [laughter] i have discovered in the last couple of weeks since i was told i had got in this lifetime award that there is one potential it makes you think back over your lifetime.
doing that makes me remember the wonderful things that i had forgotten for a long time, when you start remembering you remember tough times to. i remember robert moses at the height of his power to say i will never talk to my family will never talk to my friends will never talk to you laugh laugh then he had another sentence i don't remember but nobody of the city or state will ever talked and i remember thinking what do i do now? [laughter] i remember running and of many, mike contract was $5,000 of which i had gone 2500 in advance. even though the smallest advance in that state --
stop things very quickly. and i remember -- seven years to say nobody will read a book from robert but if that is your journey that ended his bed and a great journey. i always love to try to explain and that is what happens of political power and my nerd journalistic of boards. by and do you think you know, everything? but after several years he has agreed to talk and he started talking. i realize in those first moments i knew nothing. but this man was operating in thinking on a level far
beyond anything i had ever thought. i had to try to understand it. time and again, thinking and never thought about that. which. >> not those textbooks kind but real power the essence of power. with that rewrote the isolated area but i had up will come people and by realizing that was not understanding them so therefore i was not understanding so we moved there for the better part of three years to learn naval new world which is so different from new york of which i have grown up. i was 39 and started and let
me tell you having to learn a whole new world that that age was a great gift to me. but of course, with life the most important thing of the jury -- journey is your companions of this many think that people who had then my companions and that is the most wonderful thing of all. 1972 in my fifth year. [applause] i got a new editor. [applause] and also got another editor.
and cathy hess worked for my books ever since. choose save you the trouble of calculating that is 44 years ago. [laughter] so for all of that time, i have had the same editors and agent together we have worked on five books whenever lifetime achievement have they are part of them. those three people were with me 44 years ago and are with me today that makes new looking back on my life terrific. another question it is a big part in a sunny. [applause] in 1987 is a relative newcomer in my life. [laughter]
it has meant a lot to me to have sunny tea with me whenever i have a manuscript agassi have and he always says and picks up the very things that i most wanted their readers to get out of the book. he has a rare gift in my experience for to see or grass or be able to explain the heart of a book but had as they asked me or anyone else when allied be finished with my book? [laughter] i never once in 44 years have that question. so expanding the number from
three or four and now if you have any words. >> another person add knopf want to think. [applause] and d is the most responsible for the fact that my book is always beautiful and in addition, my insistence to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite of and that causes a lot of problems. some of he can solve that. he has been at the same publishing house 44 years and have other people last
knopf to say. and as i walk around the halls of light publishing house, they seem to be filled not only with friends but friends of decades. and of course, , there is the companion of my whole lifetime of most important in everything. to start something naturally the first person i thought of i came home one day and
before i got out of the car she said we sold the house today. i remembered she never let me know the problem with being broke but only after new yorker bought the powerbroker she said now weekend walk past the bleachers' again i did not know that she had to choose a different shopping area. told her was not in the country we would have to move their and said why can't you write a biography of napoleon? [laughter] [applause] but of course, then she said what she always does, sure. and of course, i read some times about historians who
have three or four researchers. i have a researcher's team on assignment and is the only person i have never trusted to do research on my books. somehow despite that she is in strong. [applause] and i was told i would get this award i remembered august. so with a very full heart that i think the national
book foundation in those who read the wonderful letters and all the and other people of confound nation's one that is the best gift that you could give to me. thank you and. [applause] [applause] >> very nice. i love to see that in the oscars we need you. i am not finished that was so great and heartfelt. but i am all aspired we will
i hope the dinner was lovely enter now for the lead good part to find that what you have been wondering belinda national book award 2016? our fabulous house to said is this saying but that also looks as an act of resistance for. >> so i say putting on our dresses and tuxedos to be together to celebrate the literature is an act of resistance. a reminder reaching any fear -- prepare our country and be together and still feel joy and happiness.
i am brand new, is my first year as did my position as executive director at the national book foundation. [applause] and i am super nervous. my first time on this stage but and that reminds me it is a profound and it is truly the jury in their reader one and ended up -- in the process of reading books and loving them and reading them with joy and empathy and more magic has been brought into a life
that i can never truly express. i believe deeply had a truly that this work matters. i am a black woman obviously [applause] and that is a source of pride for me but also inspiration and i reminded every day as a black woman in this with my job to make sure there is more seats at the ever expanding table. one that includes anyone with a capacity for of wonder or curiosity your passion which is to say say, everyone matter what they look like your food they love for where they come from. [applause]
being up here in general is very emotional and especially at this time where many of us in this rumination find ourselves oriented at the 67 national book award those that give us how open and comfort that they light our way and distract us and bring us together. the simple act of reading creates of meat -- committee felt always be will come and so my deepest hope is every single person in this room will join the foundation to make a commitment to do so. >> i have blown way past my
time limit but i have a lot of things to give. so first of all they accuse some much to our hosts. it is of pleasure and privilege to have you here. you are super funny. and also to our generous sponsors in without you literally we would not be here. thank you to apple for hosting tonight sparry stick around and there will be a big disco ball that will look like my dress and we are grateful to each and every one of that partners to help us run our programs because we're more than just a bob reward but we bring those into the fold but to
this organization he made them work possible they are things he thought of orate a to do list to hundred 78 tax clap and is just an amazing man working at the foundation began i will never forget the gift he has given me with a beautiful transition into an organization. [applause] up next is the staff that the national book foundation they are our everything. so shot out to courtney, ben , laura, to
jordan's men brcs small but might be and i am proud of all of you. and now for the judges to have a combined total 1,464 books to identify the 20 finalist titles and of finalist that you will see tonight. fink you for entering and building a strong relationship with your ups person. [laughter] where would we be today without all of these remarkable and talented writers in this room? thank you for your work and spirit and vision involves us to better understand who we are, where we come from and where we might help to go you allow us to dream and understand.
to expand its audience and enhance the cultural value of great writing in america. we need books right now more than we ever have. we need the writers more than we ever have. we need to critique, stories and poems, novels and graphic memoirs, and we need them to inspire us and recognize us and earn our place in the world. we need literary activists of all kinds if we are going to help every kind of reader find and share and help in the beauty and power of books. more than anything we need to reach the new readers, young and adult, immigrant and citizen of every religion, race and politics because i believe now more than ever we need to come together and understand how much
there is to achieve and how far we can go and there is no better conversation to start a fight reading and connecting through the books that we are celebrating here tonight. [cheering] i hope that you will join me not just tonight but in this mission to change the world one book at a time. [applause] i ask you to believe in us and the foundation and abuse books and to support us and help us turn that into action in the days and the weeks and years to come. we have so much to celebrate and read select take comfort tonight in each other and then get the party started and tomorrow let's get to work. [applause]
[cheering] >> one more time for lisa lucas. i don't know about you guys but i have to acknowledge you she has thanked me three or four times for this. i thank you for doing this and inviting me to be here. i always joke about i also act and write and produce and do a lot of different things, but i put things in categories like actors are the babies and i always say the writers are the smartest people in the room.
[laughter] even if it doesn't seem like it on screen, trust me. but i also believe that great writing doesn't just require smart or intelligence, it requires you to be an athlete of the heart. we need our athletes more than ever and we need to raise the game now more than ever and i want to thank you. of course all of this starts with getting young people involved in reading and to present the national book award is katherine paterson. [applause] kathryn is the author of more than 30 books including 16 novels and she has won the newberry medal in 1978, and
jacob have i loved in 1991. the national book award in 1997 and the great hopkins won the national book award in 1979. she received the hans christian andersen award and was named a living legend by the library of congress and it gives me great pleasure to introduce katherine paterson. ♪ one feels like one should say larry. thank you and your wonderful
staff for this celebration. it is my privilege to present -- that's at my height right now. [laughter] it is my privilege to present a panel of judges for young people's literature, lou alexander, valerie lewis and laura. no chair could have asked for a more hard working and congenial crew and i than i think you tham the bottom of my heart. the good news is that this was a great year for young people's books but the bad news is this was is a great year for young people's books. our choices were painful. far too many truly deserving
books had to be left behind as we came together for a long list and then to the final list that we are honoring tonight. our deliberations considered for distinct categories of excellence. how does the book appeal to the head and intelligence and craft of its construction? how does appeal to the richness and the honesty of its emotional vacation. code avocation and how does it appear to the quality of its voice, and then finally how does it contribute to the vast conversation that is written for children and young adults. in other words is this a book not only to our time but a book
grace limit for when the sea turned to silver. little brown books for young readers. jason reynolds for ghost. [applause] [cheering] books fo for youngyoung readers. the sun is also a star, eloquent press, angle random house. and the 2016 national book award for young people's literature goes to john lewis. [applause]
[cheering] thank you. this is unreal. this is unbelievable. i grew up in rural alabama, very, very poor. i remember in 1956 when i was 16-years-old with some of my brothers and sisters and cousins going to the library trying to get library cards and were told that the libraries were whites only. and to come here and receive this award is too much. [cheering] thank you.
[applause] but i had a wonderful teacher in elementary school who told me read, my child, agreed. and i tried to read everything. i loved books. thank you, andrew, nate, each and every one of you and the judges. thank you national book foundation. thank you so much. [cheering] this was an incredibly intense group effort. we couldn't have done this alone. thank you, friends, collaborators, lee walton, the engine that drove. thank you, chris, happy
birthday. thank you everybody, my amazing wife whose sacrifices made my end of the deal attainable, my children and their generation will inherit. and a message to a challenge to our incoming president. i challenge you to take this trilogy into your tiny hands and allow your tiny heart to be transformed by it. [laughter] none of us are alone in this, not even you. [cheering] i pitched this idea to the congressman when i was 24-years-old. i didn't know any better. [laughter]
when i was a kid, we didn't have money for books, so we would go to the library. it happened to be the only place that had air conditioning that we could use in georgia. i was raised by a single mom and she couldn't be here tonight, but she made me promise i would watch this with her at christmas, so merry christmas, mom. [laughter] we did it. [cheering] i want to thank chris for saying yes when i pitched this over the table at a comic book conventi convention. i want to thank all the publishers who said no. [laughter] i want to thank john lewis for saying yes. [applause] there are two important lessons
from this. one is that the story of the movement must be told to every child young and old. we all must know it if we are to understand the politics of today. and number two, but the prejudice against comic books be buried once and for all. [laughter] ' thank you to everyone, lee walton. let me just say to his wife, you can have him back now. [laughter] and let me thank one more time, my mom. because there was no one that would say i should be here or i should have this award, but says i should work with john lewis and be able to serve in congress, that you could grow up to be the son in muslim
comic bookincomic books becausea real superhero. and little did his arch enemies know that racism just made him stronger. [laughter] only made him stronger. that is a national hero. now to present the book award for poetry is joy, and acclaimed writer and her memoir one the literary award for creative nonfiction. she's the recipient of the award from the academy's of american poets, and she's done work in an album of music and second memoir, that's amazing. she held the chair of excellence in creative writing at the university of tennessee knoxville. it gives me great pleasure to introduce joy.
[applause] ♪ was a celebration. first i wish for this year's national book award and the poetry a and incredible group of judges that include mark, jericho brown, katie ford and terry swenson. [applause] we, makers of stories, poems and readers of literature all need each other as we navigate a broken heart of this country.
poetry is truth telling than the concise art of conscience come into the word magic of history and prophecy. we absolutely need poetry as we move forward from last tuesday. poetry carries the spirit of the people and is necessary in the doorways of transition and transformation. this award acknowledges the accomplishments of american poets who see us through to the other side. for six months, we have read, reread, discussed books, poems, word, what matters and what continues to matter in the making of poetry. we have read nearly 300 books of poetry together. we have found incredible poetry and deserving finalists. the finalists for the national book award in poetry are the
♪ thank you, judges, national book foundation. what an honor to share the stage with john lewis. i need to get my first thank you to my parents that are here tonight. [applause] who always felt our house with books and never questioned my choice to be a writer as impractical and impoverished as it might end up being. i want as well my 9-year-old at home watching i think he was
more nervous than i was, so i love you and i wouldn't have made this book without you. when i walked in this evening, a nice person that greeted me at the door i introduced myself and they said yours is the book that was published in an apartment and this was said with great enthusiasm that apartment belonged to joe and wendy of brooklyn arts press. [applause] [cheering] who have been the most incredible publishers joe has done so much for this book and once he found out it was nominated for the book award has been so incredibly supportive. i need to think the brooklyn arts press who edited the book and the host that worked on the design as well as sam hall and all of the team a and the press that i'm missing.
my formation as a writer has been among the people that make books in their apartment many of whom have been publishing me for years, and it's been one gift tt after another so i want to acknowledge those people who labor in the small press world which is where i very much have come from so others have published my work, i want to acknowledge and thank you. my friends in chicago and from the green lantern press and many others i'm not going to mention that have made of the literary world is so much better. finally, the performance of being human comes out of the
idea that literature and poetry in particular can serve as a means of producing social and historical memory and at this moment as many people in the room are very concerned about what the future is going to bring, i too mac and incredibly concerned about that. that comes out of the experience of thinking about many types of abuse, both state violence, economic exploitation, the experience of migrants and exiles and immigrants and i am particularly concerned about the fate of undocumented people in this country, so i want to ask -- [applause] so i would simply conclude by asking that we all do our part to make sure the country remains safe and welcoming to
undocumented people, immigrants and speakers of many languages. thank you. [applause] [cheering] we are about halfway through the night. just a little joke. you're like what. [laughter] the award will be presented by masha, the russian american journalist and author of nine books of nonfiction including the brothers called the road to american tragedy, and the national bestseller the man without a face of the rise of vladimir putin. she's a contributing opinion writer to "new york times" a frequent contributor to the new york review of books and the new yorker. she is a carnegie mellon melanie also welcome is the millennial
plaques or just a carnegie mellon fellow? that would be weird if millennial -- [laughter] she's actually only 9-years-old. [laughter] she's done a lot. [laughter] a longtime resident of moscow maybe that's just how they do it in russia, that's how good the vodka is. a longtime resident of moscow, she now lives in new york and he gives me great pleasure to introduce masha. [applause] ♪ yes, and the vodka was very helpful in making those decisions. [laughter] you already know that it was a love of books and that the choice was excruciatingly hard. such a lot of books but also such a lot of great and
important books. i was very impressed with how many books on history we had to read this year, how many striking memoirs were red. and i realized at one point i was thinking if my 15-year-old daughter, who is actually here today because she had the job of alphabetizing the books and sorting them and resorting them, if she had read nothing but the books that were nominated by publishers for the nonfiction award this year, she would be a really well-educated person. i want to thank the judges whom i will miss greatly from our conversations and company. the judges were cynthia barnett, greg and ronald ross bottom. [applause] we produced our long list and shortlist and it seemed to us it
was a very heavy lift. it was physically very heavy. [laughter] if you solve the stacks of the different nominations, ours was definitely the highest. it was a very heavy lift. and it's a great list and somehow over the last week it's begun to appeal ever more timely and ever more urgent. urgency is one of the criteria that emerged in our conversation, not just urgency in the subject matter but with which we want to ask people to read these books because they will change or affect the way you see the country and that you think about some of the most important issues today. so the finalists are strangers
[cheering] i have some prepared remarks but i don't know how i'm going to open these up. give me a second. of course i would like to thank the judges and the national book foundation. i would like to thank all of the co- finalists and my family who is here. my mother and my father who from the moment i could see were reading books. i would like to thank my brother who for me represents the beauty of humanity and also my father-in-law.
this book actually came out of a conversation that we had. i of course would like to thank my wife who spent many days listening to the early drafts and what always encouraged me and has always encouraged me to be my biggest advocate. i am truly thankful to be her partner in life. [applause] i of course would like to thank nation books. [applause] of course with challenging power, one book at a time. i would like to thank my editor who of course we've spent many
hours talking and she o of coure be peeved in my work and i would like to thank clive of course far from the beginning believing in me that i could produce this history of racist ideas. i would like to thank my agent who -- [applause] i think when we first met i was 29, 30-years-old and she believed that i could produce this. i of course would like to thank the newest addition to my family. some of you have seen her tonight. my six -month-old daughter. [applause] and she truly is the best award
i've received all year, no offense to the national book fair. [applause] her name in swahili means faith. her name of course has a new meaning for us as the first black president is set to leave the white house and as a man that was endorsed by the ku klux klan is about to enter. faith. i just want to let everyone know that i spent years looking at the absolute worst of america, it's for a -- at indiana i never lost faith. the terror of racism, i never
lost faith that the terror of racism on one day and. i never lost faith because for every racist idea, there was an antiracist idea. for every color of the mind can every care killer of the mind there was a lifesaver of the mind. and in the midst of the human ugliness of racism, there was the human beauty. there is the human beauty in the resistance to racism. that is why i have faith, and i will never lose my faith without you and i can create an anti-racist america where racial disparities are nonexistent, where americans are no longer manipulated by racist ideas and wear black lives matter. [applause]
the national book foundation has awoken. that was very nice, shout out to the baby and the wife. you've got to do that. you can find out the hard way. [laughter] to present the national book award for fiction is james english. [applause] james english is a centennial professor of english at the university of pennsylvania where he directs the humanities for amanda price lab for digital humanities. his books include the global future of english studies and economy of prestige.
the award in the circulation of cultural values. selected as the best academic book of 2005 by new york magazine so it gives me great pleasure to introduce james english. ♪ hello, everyone. what a celebration. i'm starting to feel good for the first time. [applause] my thanks to lisa and harold and the nationaatthe national book d foundation for giving me the opportunity to work with a group of very distinguished writers that are also strong and thoughtful readers of fiction. my fellow judges are back there at cable 60.
two other judges couldn't be with us. one threw her back up this morning and the other is home of a really new baby just a couple weeks old. [applause] so it is a real honor to work with these great writers. judging the national book award requires the commitment of hundreds of hours. as an educator, i've got a day job. identify students called double counting. arranging things so that the work is demanded in one domain and fulfilled something required in another. i'm teaching a course called novel of the year -- [laughter] that focuses rather narrowly on the 2016 national book award for fiction. [laughter]
the students in this class have read all of the shortlisted books and studied the authors and agents and editors and publishing houses. they are learning about the ways that you work to support literary fiction in difficult times and it's been a really fun class. students formed juries and decided their own winners and attempted to predict the outcome here tonight. they've even applied a computer program model to try to predict the winner algorithmically. this was developed in canada but here not so much. [laughter] there has been a more strenuous disagreement in the classroom than among the official judges. karen geronimo, julie and i have
in fact found ourselves strikingly close accord throughout the process. we whittled down 400 books to arrive at a place of no compromise where every one of us loves everyone of the five finalists. they are the throwback special ww norton & co.. [applause] [cheering] the underground railroad, doubleday. [applause] [cheering] and doubleday.
differing greatly from one another each of these is a great read and constant work of art. taken together they test the range and fertility of fiction. the others remain in accord even when earlier today we made the difficult selection from these extraordinary books. the work that impressed us with its breaking ethics committee's formal inventiveness, its use of fiction to eliminate a history for the sake of its troubled present our novel of the year and winner of the 2016 book award for fiction is the underground railroad. [applause] [cheering]
he's like we are going to get it out there and publish it no matter what it is. he was very excited and i was like don't fuck it up. [laughter] thank you for all of your feet over the years. it's meant a lot to write and throw yourself out there and have someone in your corner like bill. so thank you sir. [applause] my daughter is at home watching on the screen. you're 12-years-old and i started living on the day that you were born.
people read my copy like i don't know. this time last year i was finishing up a book and was like don't mess up the 20 pages. you never know what's going to happen and now the book is out and i never thought i would be standing here. who knows where we will be a year from now as the wasted land would inhabit who knows if this is going to happen a year from now. people were like i'm sort of stunned and then i hit upon something that was making me feel better and i guess it was
the kind, everybodycome and make art and fight the power. that seemed like a good formula for me anyway. [applause] if you have trouble remembering that come a good mnemonic device to tell your self is they can't break me because i may bad mother fucker. [applause] [cheering] okay. all right. [applause]
this concludes the et presents the national book awards. [applause] [cheering] with special guest robert caro. [applause] [laughter] thank you so much for coming and to all thdo all the work you arg keep reading and writing and in the words of kendrick lamarr, we are going to be all right. ♪pulitzer